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The Key to Total Healing

When Paul and I are working with people who are ill, we often hear them say that they improved on the Hallelujah Diet—but just to a point. Then, they no longer found improvement. From there, we talk about their dental health, whether they are truthful in their amount of juicing and then we discuss another key component: Their emotional health. When God created our bodies he didn’t put any barriers between the brain and the heart. Those two communicate perfectly and are truly best of friends. Therefore, when the brain and heart exhibit feelings, whether they are happy or sad, guilt or grief, the entire body reacts either positively or negatively.

When you have resentment, grievance, and hostile feelings towards anyone or if you have any of the other toxic emotions like guilt, shame, depression or fear, these emotions release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones have effects on the cardiovascular system and on the immune system. Your immune system becomes compromised, even your platelets get jittery with the high levels of adrenaline and they start the process that leads to cardiovascular illnesses, heart attacks, stroke and cancer. On the other hand when you forgive and let go the burden of judgment, everything settles down and your body starts to return to homeostasis, which means it is self-regulated.

In study after study, results indicate that people who are forgiving tend to have not only less stress but also better relationships, fewer general health problems and lower incidences of the most serious illnesses—including depression, heart disease, stroke and cancer. It has even been linked to a longer lifespan. Why? “Because not forgiving—nursing a grudge—is so caustic,” says Fred Luskin, PhD, a health psychologist at Stanford University and author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness (Harper Collins 2002). “It raises your blood pressure, depletes immune function, makes you more depressed, and possibly, impairs neurological function and memory while causing enormous physical stress to the whole body.”

A second way forgiveness works is more subtle, as shown in studies indicating that people with strong social networks—friends, neighbors and family— tend to be healthier than loners. According to psychologists, someone who is angry and remembers every slight is likely to lose relationships during the course of a lifetime, while people who are forgiving are more likely to attract and keep a strong social support system—to the benefit of their own health.

The attitude of forgiveness—fully accepting that a negative circumstance has occurred and relinquishing negative feelings surrounding the event—can be learned and can lead us to experience better mental, emotional and physical health. The Stanford Forgiveness Project trained 260 adults in forgiveness in a 6-week course.

  • 70% reported a decrease in their feelings of hurt
  • 13% experienced reduced anger
  • 27% experienced fewer physical complaints (for example, pain, gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, etc.)

With more than 1,200 published studies, forgiveness research is a relatively new and exciting field that is encouraging a fundamental shift away from treatment of disease to focusing on the positive aspects of human nature as a basis for healing.

Some people just seem so resilient during challenging times. Dr. Andrew Weil describes resilience as being like a rubber band—no matter how far a resilient person is stretched or pulled by negative emotions; he or she has the ability to bounce back to his or her original state. Resilient people are able to experience tough emotions like pain, sorrow, frustration, and grief without falling apart—in fact, some people are able to look at challenging times with optimism and hope, knowing that their hardships will lead to personal growth and an expanded outlook on life.

“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”

Resilient people do not deny the pain or suffering they are experiencing; rather, they retain a sense of positivity that helps them overcome the negative effects of their situation. Positive emotions have a scientific purpose—to help the body recover from the ill effects of negative emotions. Thus cultivating positivity over time can help us become more resilient in the face of crisis or stress.

Most really don’t understand that holding on to grudges and internalizing anger are serious threats to their physical well-being. Author, researcher and forgiveness expert Dr. Michael Barry believes negative emotions are a serious business that must be addressed. In his book, The Forgiveness Project: The Startling Discovery of How to Overcome Cancer, Find Health, and Achieve Peace, Barry writes about his research into how forgiveness impacts our health and can affect the treatment of serious illnesses such as cancer.

According to the review for The Forgiveness Project on Amazon.com, “All religions value forgiveness…Internalizing anger is destructive to our spiritual health and can destroy families, marriages and even churches. But what about our physical health? Is there a relationship between a spirit of unforgiveness and cancer? Between forgiveness and healing? How do you really forgive?”

After thorough medical, theological, and sociological research, coupled with clinical experience at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), Barry has discovered what several like-minded health care practitioners have: that the immune system and forgiveness are very much connected. Through the inspiring stories of five cancer patients, Barry helps people identify—and overcome—the barriers that prevent healing and peace.”

“Cancer is a terrible disease and difficult to overcome,” Barry says. “But we can do so much for ourselves by allowing our minds and hearts to heal through forgiveness so our bodies can follow suit. ‘The Forgiveness Project’ reveals that unforgiveness is a form of cancer that can spread into every part of our lives. It saps our joy, robs us of vitality in our relationships, reduces the quality of our life, and can lead to destructive behavior of all sorts—including the most destructive behavior: suicide.”

He tells the stories of Jayne, a breast cancer patient who experienced spiritual and physical renewal when she learned to forgive; Cathy, whose story illustrates how forgiveness can positively change relationships; Sharon, who saw spontaneous remission during her treatment. With each true story, people can begin to find peace with their past, relief from their hatefulness and hope for their healing.

Often the person hardest to forgive is ourselves. We punish ourselves for the things we did and the things we didn’t do. The mistakes haunt us and keep us from being at peace with others and ourselves.

Many books address forgiveness, but few tie together forgiveness and physical health or offer forgiveness as a specific step toward healing from cancer. Our recent release Unravel the Mystery offers even more evidence of the dangers of Unforgiveness.

If you, or a loved one have not found the healing you believe you are capable of while following the principles of the Hallelujah Diet, you may have to take some time to look within. You may find that while your body has been enjoying consistent, highly nutrient dense food, your emotions and mental health may require their own form of detoxification and replacement of negative thinking with positive, life-gaining thoughts. The greatest place to find this type of spiritual nourishment is in your Bible, the greatest health book ever written.

Forgiveness is the last sacrament Christ gave in his physical body before he “died”. He forgave everyone of everything.

If we believe that Jesus died to forgive us of our sins and give us everlasting life, then, that knowledge alone can be the catalyst from which we stand firm and positive during times of distress.

Other excellent resources that provide deeply nourishing words are in books from Max Lucado, Dr. David Jeremiah, Joni Erickson-Tata and others who have experienced their own despairs but have risen above them fueled with the grace, faith and hope that their lives have been called to further the Kingdom but cannot complete this important mission with hearts that have been tainted with doubt, fear and anger. So the next time you go on a “cleansing detox program”, remember to include your “spiritual cleanse” as well.

Comments

  1. Nancy Lawhorn September 17, 2014

    This article is thorough and positive. I have heard that there is a link between health and mind but you have nicely broken it down and did not stop there. You have listed the names of avenues that anyone interested in or in need of could go to and research on their own. Very good article!

  2. Paul Bone September 17, 2014

    I was bamboozled by a former manager at a former job. I had done so much in a slightly lower level of mgmt., to make him and our whole office standout with our company. It took several years to get over the way I was done, but when I finally let it
    go, I felt so much better.. I will not be able to forget the things that happened, but I don’t dwell on it any longer.. I for gave.. and hope I was forgiven..

    It was a few years after this that illness struck me.. Not only this incident, but another case where I wronged a
    loved one ,showed me that truly, What goes around comes around, or as Rev Malkmus says, ” The curse causeless ,does not come “.
    H Aces Health Minister

  3. Ginger Adams September 17, 2014

    you mentioned dental health in article but you didn’t really go into much detail about it. What kind of dental health were you talking about. Also, you didn’t say how much juice a person should be drinking each day. Can you expound on these two things please?

  4. Awesome, I have never heard it put so well and plan on helping a friend whose relationships with her family and her health have been sorely damaged by unforgiveness…thank you for this article.

  5. I use to see a printer friendly option with the articles. I am not seeing that option. Please make available.
    Thanks

    • Christy Okon October 1, 2014

      Thank you! we are working on options to make it printer friendly. At the moment, the user can do a CTRL + P to bring up the Print screen window will come up.

  6. Great work, Dear AM and PM. I totally agree with this article. Most timely and precise. How come it took so long to put it together. God is using your ministry to heal many lives. Your reward truly is in Heaven and here, as well!
    Health is said to be the sum total of Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual wellbeing and not just the absence of disease and disorder . When God instructs us to forgive every offense , it is ultimately for our very own good…and not a favour we are doing God! May we receive grace and mercy to help us in our times of need. Amen.

  7. This is a great article that every soul should read ,
    very informative i thank God for your life.

  8. You mention asking people about their dental health. Can you refer me to a resource that discusses dental health and what I need to be aware of? I’m having old mercury fillings replaced next week…

  9. Very in-depth article. There is connection with the mind and body and keeping our mind free from negativity can help us to be more happy, content thus no negative energy can harm us physically which usually gives us stress and anxiety. Workouts for example, when we sweat we tend to release endorphin which makes us happy. Great post.

  10. I was really pleased to find this website. I wanted to thanks for your time for this superb read!! I unquestionably enjoying each small bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  11. Excellent article ! My personal observation has been that people have to take this vital step of Forgiveness before they can attain a complete healing of body and mind.

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